Tag Archives: Breathing Space

Mark Rowen album promo

A short teaser promo for “Radience”, the forthcoming album from former Breathing Space guitarist Mark Rowen.

It boasts a very impressive cast list, including the former Breathing Space rhythm section of Paul Teasdale and Barry Cassells, plus Moray McDonald, Rob Cottingham, Guy Manning and many more.

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When Empires Fall pre-order

When Empires FallThe debut album from When Empires Fall, the new project from former Stolen Earth and Breathing Space bassust and songwriter Paul Teasdale, is now available for pre-order.

In their own words:

When Empires Fall’ formed in the Winter of 2013. Founded by bass player Paul Teasdale (Stolen Earth, Breathing Space, Sanchez), the debut album brings together musicians from across the UK and further afield to bring you an eclectic, genre-defying collection of songs from a band who refuse to be categorised.

The album contains multi-layered audiofields reminiscent of the greatest eras of classic rock, with obvious nods in the direction of Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys, Editors, Mostly Autumn, Porcupine Tree and The XX.

Described by some as nu-progressive, the sounds stay close to the band’s symphonic and sometimes hard-edged rock heritage, whilst embracing modern styles and sounds. It takes the classic sounds of the rasping Hammond and powerful overdriven guitar-stacks, and adds huge strings and harmonies to create a soundscape you can get lost in.

With an eclectic mix of classic rock and far more contemporary influences this is sounding like a very interesting project whose debut album ought to be well worth the wait.

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Interview with Heidi Widdop

Heidi Widdop

I’ve interviewed former Stolen Earth and Breathing Space frontwoman Heidi Widdop for Trebuchet Magazine. While the focus is naturally on her new project Cloud Atlas, we also talked about Stolen Earth and touched on the very early days of Mostly Autumn when Heidi was in the band.

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The Sound of the World

It may be that social networking has killed the webforum, but HippyDave, who already runs the official Panic Room and Stolen Earth forums has started a new forum The Sound of the World, dedicated to Mostly Autumn and the extended family of side projects and related bands. It has sections for Mostly Autumn, Halo Blind, Morpheus Rising and for Heather Findlay’s solo career, as well as past projects such as Odin Dragonfly, Josh and Co, and Breathing Space.

It’s a matter of debate as to whether or not the world really needs yet another Mostly Autumn forum. As HippyDave himself explains, a great many people, including a lot of dedicated fans, have issues with the way the official forum is over-moderated. There is already an unofficial forum, but that suffers from the opposite problem in that it’s under-moderated and tends to get overrun by trolls. There isn’t a place online where you can have a serious discussion about their music without the constant feeling that you’re walking on eggshells.

Time will tell if the forum gets a critical mass of regular posters and hosts meaningful discussions about the bands’ music.

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Stolen Earth

There was an announcement on Facebook a couple of days ago about a new band, “Stolen Earth”, with the following lineup:

  • Heidi Widdop – Vocals, Acoustic guitar, Low whistle
  • Adam Dawson – Lead guitar, vocals
  • Paul Teasdale – Bass Guitar, vocals
  • Barry Cassells – Drums
  • John Sykes – Keyboards

Regular readers of this blog (all four of you) will probably notice that four out of the five members of the band were in the final incarnation of Breathing Space.

While many fans were saddened that Breathing Space had decided to call it a day a month ago, there was always the expectation that at least some members of the band would continue to work together on new projects. Indeed, it soon became apparent to anyone with the ability to read between the lines that most of that final incarnation of the band were likely to continue as a band with a new name. Stolen Earth are that band.

Breathing Space’s final few gigs with new members Heidi and Adam showed us a very different band from the one fronted by Olivia Sparnenn, and it feels like the much of spirit of that final lineup will be continuing as Stolen Earth. Obviously with a different keyboard player and a new songwriting team Stolen Earth will have a changed sound and a new trajectory. Certainly I hope that the new songs premièred at the Cambridge Rock Festival, work of Adam and Paul, become part of the new band’s songbook. They’re too good to fall through the gap between bands.

It will be very interesting to see how they develop. Can’t wait to see them live.

Their new website will be up and running soon, they assure me. In the meantime, go and “Like” the Stolen Earth Facebook page.

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Breathing Space reach the end of the road.

Cambridge Rock Festival 2009, with Mostly Autumn’s Bryan Josh on guitar

A sad announcement today is that York progressive rock band Breathing Space are calling it a day.  As said on their official website:

After a lot of thought and deliberation, we are sorry to announce that Breathing Space has decided to disband.

We would like to thank everyone that has supported us over the last few years. It has been an exciting and wonderful journey and we have all enjoyed every moment. Whereas I am very sad that this project has come to an end, as one door closes another door opens, so watch this space…

All the best,
Iain Jennings

Iain Jennings, The Riga, Southend, March 2010

For those of you who aren’t regular readers of this blog, Breathing Space are the band Mostly Autumn keyboardist Iain Jennings and vocalist Olivia Sparnenn put together to promote Iain’s 2005 solo album “Breathing Space”. After Iain left Mostly Autumn at the beginning of 2006, the project took on a life of it’s own and became a band in it’s own right. Like many bands at their level, they’ve been though a number of lineup changes over the years. Barry Cassells replaced original drummer, Iain’s brother Andy in 2007. There was the departure of guitarist Mark Rowen in 2009, and most significantly of all the departure of Olivia Sparnenn in 2010 to take up a new role as lead singer for Mostly Autumn. The final incarnation of the band featured Heidi Widdop on vocals, and Adam Dawson on guitar.

Olivia Sparnenn, 2009 Cambridge Rock Festival

I first became of fan of the band after I met Olivia after a Mostly Autumn gig in February 2007, and she personally invited me to their gig at The Roman Baths in York the following weekend.  At the time the band were without a permanent drummer, and Olivia’s father Howard was standing in; I remember him remarking to me that he didn’t want to occupy the drumstool on a permanent basis, since he thought having her dad on drums would rather cramp her style. That gig was plagued with severe technical gremlins, but I could see the potential there, and I thought Olivia Sparnenn was a real star in the making,  A month later I saw them play a superb set at the Mostly Autumn fan convention in Ringwood, Hampshire, and said to bassist Paul Teasdale that give them a couple of years they’d be giving Mostly Autumn a run for their money.  And I think I was right.

Paul Teasdale, The Riga, Southend, March 2010

Over the course of the following four years the band recorded two excellent studio albums, “Coming Up for Air” and “Below the Radar”, and played a great many memorable gigs. Among those that stick in the mind are the very emotional performance in Mansfield in May 2008, the stunning show at the Cambridge Rock Festival in 2009, and what appeared at the time to be a spectacular rebirth of the band with a brand new lineup at the same festival in 2010. Over the years their sound evolved, from the dominance of big soaring ballads and jazz-rock workouts in the Mark Rowen era, to the tougher hard rock orientated approach they took over the last couple of years.  Even after Olivia left the band they managed to reinvent themselves once more with new singer Heidi Widdop, and things looked set for another chapter in the story.

Mark Rowen, 2008 Cambridge Rock Festival

In terms of the number of their gigs I’ve attended, Breathing Space are second only to Mostly Autumn.  I’ve likened being a fan of a band at this level to being an away supporter of a lower-division football team.  It involves travelling to towns like Crewe, Mansfield or Southend, often staying in dodgy B&Bs when it’s not possible to arrange lifts home. But there’s a great camaraderie amongst fellow fans, many of whom have become friends, as have some of the band. It’s  quite different from being a fan of someone like Oasis. Part of being a loyal fan is you stick with them through the bad times as well as the good.  Yes, there were times when a cloth-eared house soundman from a toilet of a venue rendered their finely-crafted music all but unlistenable to a sparse crowd.  But there were times when they delivered mesmerising performances to appreciative audiences, or went down a storm at festivals.  Sadly they were a band who I always felt deserved far more success than they ever achieved; they were worth far more than playing for sixty people in working-mens clubs in the East Midlands.

Heidi Widdop at the 2010 Cambridge Rock Festival

At the time of writing, nobody from the band has given any specific reason for the split, and since I know some of the band personally I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to speculate about it on a public forum. So here’s to the past four years. Let’s remember the good times, and I hope to see all the band involved in exciting new projects over the coming months and years. There may not be any more chapters in the Breathing Space story, but I hope for and expect at a sequel.

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A Year in Live Music

My musical year has been defined more by live music than by albums, with something like 40 gigs this year. It’s almost impossible to chose the best of these, but here are a dozen of the most memorable, in chronological order.

Mostly Autumn at Leamington Assembly

This gig on Good Friday was Heather Findlay’s farewell performance with the band she’d fronted for twelve years, the whole thing superbly captured on the DVD “That Night In Leamington”. It was a very emotional night for those of us who were there, but also one of the best performances I’ve seen by the band to date; certainly a fitting close for an era of the band.

Breathing Space at Bilston Robin 2

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Olivia Sparnenn played her last gig with her old band Breathing Space before leaving to replace Heather in Mostly Autumn. The Robin is always a great gig and this was no exception; Olivia certainly ended her time with the band on a high. The whole thing had a great vibe and I can remember how positive everyone was after the gig.

Protect the Beat at the Mumbles Jazz Festival

When a gig is billed as jazz-fusion played by top rock and pop session musicians, one could be excused for fearing the worst. But the energy and enthusiasm of the five musicians made this instrumental set one of the gigs of the year. The key factor was that it was abundantly clear that they were enjoying every minute on stage, and that enthusiasm was infectious. This is what live music is all about.

Transatlantic at Manchester Academy 1

The prog-rock supergroup proved every bit as enthusiastic about being on stage as had Protect The Beat a couple of weeks earlier. The three and a half hour set comprised just seven songs of grandiose swirling epic prog, including their 70-minute “The Whirlwind”. The word “progtastic” is the only way to describe an evening like this, even if the song to set length ratio is enough to give Guardian music journalists the vapours.

Mostly Autumn and Panic Room at Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Just a week after those two farewell gigs Mostly Autumn took to the stage with Olivia Sparnenn fronting the band. I saw them a number of times on that tour; the best of the lot was when they and Panic Room supported Wishbone Ash in London in mid-May. Panic Room played a short and sweet opening set, then Mostly Autumn went absolutely full-tilt for a special guest spot of just under an hour. The headline act just could not follow that; the consensus was that they ended up the third-best band of the night.

Fish at The Band on the Wall, Manchester

After taking the best part of a year out, the former Marillion frontman has been touring with a stripped-down acoustic show in small intimate venues backed by just Frank Usher on guitar and Foss Patterson on keys. Despite having suffered from throat problems in recent years, Fish proved that he’s very much still got it as a live performer both as a singer and a charismatic frontman. Most memorable moment was when he looked me in the eye when he mentioned an earlier gig in York, and didn’t make any mention of his ex.

High Voltage festival at Victoria Park, London

While this big commercial festival had it’s downsides of long queues to get in, overpriced beer, and a yawn-inducing Saturday headliner, the upsides were some superb bands, of whom Touchstone, The Reasoning, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, BigElf, Zappa Plays Zappa, Opeth and Transatlantic stood out. The whole thing ended with a gloriously ridiculous show by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, which was probably the only way to end such a festival.

Cambridge Rock Festival

This small friendly festival was a complete contrast to the commercialism of High Voltage. No big name headliners, but the vibe of the festival was such that it didn’t really need it. The best day was undoubtedly the Sunday, headlined by Mostly Autumn (them again!) and also featured great sets from Panic Room and Breathing Space, the latter being the début for their new singer Heidi Widdop. But it was the special guests The Enid who stole the show with an utterly mesmerising set.

Therion at Shepherds Bush Empire, London

I went to this gig having heard a couple of their albums, not really knowing what to expect. Seeing a band whose lyricist apparently heads a magickal order on Halloween night makes you wonder if they would attempt to summon Great Cthulhu at some point in the show, but what we got was epic symphonic metal with elaborate but hugely melodic multi-part vocal arrangements from four classically-trained singers. An amazing gig, quite unlike anything else I’ve heard all year

Steve Hackett at Shepherds Bush Empire, London

The Godfather of prog guitar gave us one of the most prog gigs of the year, mixing material from his excellent recent album with 70s Genesis classics like “Watcher of the Skies” and “Firth of Fifth”. Nick Beggs (of Kajagoogoo fame) on bass and Chapman stick managed to make himself the centre of attention as a cross-dressing steampunk Gandalf, but it was Hackett’s distinctive liquid guitar playing that reminded us just how influential his guitar sound has been in the progressive rock world.

Mostly Autumn at The Fleece and Firkin, Bristol

I got to see Mostly Autumn several times on their Autumn tour, when they laid to rest many of their old standards to play a set drawing very heavily from their superb new album “Go Well Diamond Heart”. Of the shows I saw, their return to Bristol after an absence of several years was the best; good sound, spirited and enthusiastic performance, and a lengthy set ending with some Christmas standards. I do love their rockier take of Greg Lake’s “I believe in Father Christmas” in particular.

Panic Room and Touchstone at Bilston Robin 2

Some people don’t like the idea of double headliners where both bands play 70-80 minute sets instead of a full-length headline set, but this one pulled a vastly bigger crowd than I’ve ever seen either band draw on their own. And they got their money’s worth; both bands pulled out all the stops and gave as good a performance as I’ve ever seen them play. High spot, if there was any single one, was Anne-Marie Helder’s spine-tingling rendition of “O Holy Night”.

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Cambridge Rock Festival 2010

The Cambridge Rock Festival is one of the many small rock festivals held up and down the country.  The CRF specialises in classic rock, blues and prog, and as I’ve said before it’s like visiting an alternate universe where punk never happened.  You won’t find much NME-friendly corporate landfill indie on the bill here.

This was my third CRF, and my second spending the full weekend under canvas.

I travelled up with my mate Andy, a fellow Mostly Autumn and Breathing Space fan, and we soon met up with fellow-fans Colin, Helen and Chris (a.k.a. The Cider Monster) on the campsite. Of course, we were to meet many, many more old friends over the course of the weekend,

For the early part of Thursday evening we decided to avoid the tribute bands on the main stage and check out some of the young bands on the second stage, such as Rowse, JoanovArc, The Treatment and The Virginmarys, before heading for the main stage for the headliners, Danny Vaughn’s The 80s Rocked.  They were billed as “an all-star band playing classic 80s rock hits”, and more or less did what they said on the tin, as cheesy as a very cheesy thing, but thoughoughly entertaining nevertheless.  Name an 80s rock hit, and they probably played it.  Eye of the Tiger?  You Give Love a Bad Name?  The Final Countdown? Of course!

The Classic Rock Society sponsored the second stage on Friday, with a bill made up of prog and metal. So we decided to stay in the smaller tent for most of the day then move to the main stage for the last 2-3 acts. The CRS stage opened with the acoustic four-piece Flaming June, whose red-headed singer reminded me more than a bit of a female version of Chris Johnson both in style and lyrics.  Best bands on the CRS stage were Winter In Eden, a British take on the European female-fronted symphonic metal genre, and Crimson Sky, who play female-fronted prog but with a quite punky/new wave style singer that sets them apart from other bands in the genre.  Final Conflict and The Dreaming Tree also played some entertaining progressive rock.  I didn’t see much of the main stage in the early part of the day, although I did catch some of UXL and Newman during intervals on the CRS stage, the latter of whom I heard described worryingly accurately as sounding “like filler tracks on Journey albums”.  At the end of The Dreaming Tree’s set I headed over to the main stage and caught the bulk of Danny Bryant’s Redeye Band, the excellent blues power trio who’d played the exact same slot the previous year.

Deborah Bonham, the late John Bonham’s younger sister, took Friday’s special guest spot, and even though I knew none of the songs, she was probably the best artist of the day. She played a set of raw and rootsy blues-rock with more than a hint of Led Zeppelin about it. Certainly she can reach the high notes that Robert Plant can’t get to any more.  After her set came The Tygers of Pan Tang, who I thought were a bit out of their depth as headliners, and suffered from an appalling sound mix that rendered the vocals all but inaudible in the early part of the set. Still I enjoyed their set quite a bit, and I seemed to get shown on the big screen rather a lot.  This is what happens when you’re with mates who drag you to the front row!

I spent most of Saturday in the main tent, kicking off with some no-nonsense rock’n'roll from Wolf Law, which was just the sort of thing we needed to wake us up first thing in the morning. The real sensation of the day was second on the bill, the young blues guitarist Chantal McGregor, who simply blew us all away. How on earth does someone that young get to play guitar like that?

After that it was over to the smaller tent to catch Emerald Sky’s set. Perhaps because I’d mentally confused them with Crimson Sky.  I was expecting a prog band, but they turned out to be an all-female metal power trio.  After that I spent the rest of the day back in the main stage tent.  Stray were as entertaining as they were last year, but another high spot was blues guitarist Larry Miller. If you remember, he (along with Karnataka) got bounced from the main stage due to the PA snafu last year – and on the strength of his performance on Saturday I think I’d have preferred those two to Focus and Asia!  His solo on the slow number (don’t remember the title) was utterly brain-melting.

Saturday’s special guests were the Oliver Dawson Saxon, who turned out to be the only real disappointment of the whole festival. They’re basically trading as a Saxon tribute band in competition with Biff Byford’s official Saxon, yet they played a whole load of mediocre new songs instead of many of the hits.  And their singer was awful.  Every festival must have it’s dud (it’s a rule, it seems), and they were that dud.

Saturday’s headliners were the Monsters of British Rock, originally billed as The Moody Murray Whitesnake until the intervention of David Coverdale’s lawyers forced a change of name.  As well as Micky Moody and Neil Murray from the original British incarnation of Whitesnake the band also included Laurie Wisefield of Wishbone Ash fame as the second guitarist, and Harry James of Thunder and Magnum fame on drums. While they weren’t perfect, they could have done with a better singer, and a bit more keys in the mix, I still enjoyed their set a lot.  Part of that was down to the company I was with (what’s better than listening to whole load of Whitesnake songs in the company of three extremely beautiful women?), and part of it was because the pre-hair metal Whitesnake songbook is absolutely full of classic tunes.  My one quibble is that it’s “Hobo”, not “Drifter”. Band and audience sang the wrong version!

On to Sunday, the day I was looking forward to the most, with Mostly Autumn, Panic Room and Breathing Space on the bill.

Opener IO Earth divided opinions; some loved genre-bending mix of female-fronted prog, jazz, dance and Joe Satriani-style guitar pyrotechnics, while they left others scratching their heads. While their guitarist was very good indeed, they came over to me as something of work in progress, just too many differing styles to sit comfortably in one band.  We’ll have to see how they develop.

Next up, Panic Room, who played an absolute blinder of a set. As readers of this blog will know, I’ve seen them a lot of times over the past couple of years, and that was at least as good a performance I’ve ever seen them do.  Apart from the surprise cover of ELP’s “Bitches Crystal” the whole set came from the most recent album “Satellite”, ending with a soaring rendition of the title track.  Just a pity they were on so early that many people missed them; on the strength of that set, if they come back they’ll be much higher up the bill.

I’d seen Kyrbgrinder last year on the smaller Radio Caroline stage, this year they returned on the main stage. Certainly the most in-your-face metal band of the whole festival. Like last year, frontman drummer Joannes James is still very much the visual focus of the band, but this we also had some amazing guitar shredding from their new guitarist Tom Caris.

In April in Gloucester I witnessed the rebirth of Mostly Autumn with Breathing Space’s former singer Olivia Sparnenn taking over lead vocals.  At Cambridge we witnessed a similar  rebirth as the new-look Breathing Space took the stage with new members Heidi Widdop on lead vocals and Adam Dawson on guitar. It’s never easy for a new singer to sing often quite personal material written by the previous singer, but Heidi took songs like “Searching For My Shadow” and made them hers. She has a rawer, bluesier vocal style compared with Livvy, which completely transforms the sound of the band.  You’d never have known that she’s suffered from throat problems that forced the cancellation of a warm-up gig a couple of days earlier. Adam Dawson also impressed, completely nailing the solos.  This is a band who have landed on their feet after some enforced changes, and the two news songs premiered promise some exciting times ahead.

Aireya 51 were by far the weakest band on Sunday’s bill; we’d seen a lot of people doing the singer-guitarist thing over the weekend and doing it far better. That was up to the point where Don Airey joined them on stage on Hammond organ and showed us the difference between an anonymous session muso and a Rock Star.  That last 20 minutes was great, and more than made up for the rest of the set.

Praying Mantis were another of the revelations of the festival. I’d seen them at one of the early 80s Reading Festivals, and they’d seemed one of the also-rans of the NWOBHM scene.  Fast-forward 30 years and what we have now is an absolutely superb melodic rock band, awesomely tight, great vocals and some wonderful twin-guitar harmonies.

Hazel O’Connor and the Subterraneans seemed a bit out of place on the bill; an 80s new-wave pop act in a sea of classic rock and prog. But the enthusiasm of her performance soon won over the crowd, aided by a tight band featuring some superb sax playing from Claire Hurst.  After a weekend of axe heroes seeing a band where the lead instrument isn’t a guitar made a welcome change. Apart from the big hit “Eighth Day” and a cover of The Stranglers’ “Hanging Around” I didn’t know any of the songs, but it didn’t matter. And I wasn’t the only person to note the Irish-themed song played as an encore bore more than a passing resemblance to Mostly Autumn’s “Out of the Inn”.

Prog veterans The Enid took the special guest spot. I know a few people I spoke to afterwards just didn’t get what they do, but down the front it was a different matter and their unique brand of largely-instrumental symphonic rock had the audience absolutely mesmerised, the festival crowd stunned into silence. While I didn’t recognise everything they played, the set included faves like “In the Region of the Summer Stars”, a big chunk of the new album, finished with a spellbinding “Dark Hydraulic”.

After that, only my favourite band could possibly end things, and they didn’t disappoint. Their 80-minute set might not quite have been up to the standard of their very best performances on the spring tour, but given the constraints of a festival it was still a very good performance, far, far better than the gremlin-plagued set from last year’s festival. No surprises in the setlist, but given the fact they band have been busy in studio writing and recording the new album we didn’t really expect any.  Highlights were a great version of “The Last Bright Light”, one that hasn’t always worked for me live, the former Breathing Space song “Questioning Eyes”, and a very powerful “Heroes Never Die”.

While this year’s festival may have lacked any of the sort of bigger name headliners who’s played in previous years, it nevertheless gave us four days of excellent music, some spellbinding performances, some great company, and last but not least, some great beer. (If you find a pub selling Leo Zodiac, buy a pint or two, it’s excellent!).  The whole thing had such a wonderful vibe that I was still on a high more than a week later.  Great credit to the organisers, and to the stage and PA crews who made the whole thing run as smoothly as it didn’t last year. Overall I found I enjoyed it far more than the far bigger High Voltage festival in London too weeks earlier.

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The End Of An Era

Tomorrow, in less than 24 hours time, Heather Findlay will be on stage with Mostly Autumn at Leamington Spa for one last farewell performance, as she prepares to embark upon a solo career.  Two days after that at the Robin 2 in Bilston, Olivia Sparnenn will be on stage with Breathing Space for the very last time, before she leaves to take over from Heather in Mostly Autumn.

I don’t think the reality has really sunk in yet.

I’ve seen Mostly Autumn something like 40 times now, and Breathing Space something like 20.  These two bands have been a major part of my life for the past few years – I’ve based holidays around the legs of tours, stayed in dodgy B&Bs to watch Breathing Space play before 50-odd people in working men’s clubs in the east midlands, and stood in the rain watching Mostly Autumn support Bryan Adams at Murrayfield Stadium. I’ve been to so many gigs in York that the city has stated to feel like a second home.  And I’ve become personal friends with one or two band members.

I expect Friday in particular is going to be a very emotional night. There are plenty of songs in the Mostly Autumn songbook that bring a lump to the throat at any time – “Carpe Diem” and “Half the Mountain” will be particularly poignant.

It may be the closing of a chapter, but it’s certainly not the end of the story. On the following weekend Livvy will be performing her first gig with Mostly Autumn at Gloucester Guildhall.  Heather hasn’t announced any tour dates as yet, but I hope to be at her first one, wherever and whenever it may be.  I’m sure there is plenty of good times and great music still to come over the coming months and years.

And Mostly Autumn’s next album Go Well-Diamond Heart, which will of course feature Livvy Sparnenn on lead vocals, is now available for pre-order.  It’s going to be recorded over the coming months, with pre-ordered to be shipped around July.  I’ve ordered mine already.

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Breathing Space, Southend Riga Bar, 20st March 2010

Iain Jennings

I think Southend is the furthest I’ve travelled to date for a Breathing Space gig. But with Olivia Sparnenn leaving the band at the beginning of April there are a limited number of chances to see the current incarnation of the band on stage. And with relatives in that part of the world, there was the opportunity to combine a must-see gig with a family visit.

I’ve not been to The Riga Bar before; it’s an excellent little venue, great sound, and a crowd who made up in enthusiasm what the lacked in numbers.

Olivia Sparnenn

Breathing Space were, as usual, superb. Over the past year they’ve significantly upped the energy level of their live performances, replacing the jazz-inflected ballads with tougher guitar-driven numbers. Although the setlist drew from all three albums, songs from last year’s “Below the Radar” featured heavily.

Livvy Sparnenn was on great form; lovely renditions of songs like “Dusk” and “Drowning” as well as rockers like “Clear”. Fans of Mostly Autumn have nothing to fear when she takes over in that band next month. And we were also treated with some excellent lead guitar from Bryan Josh, in much more relaxed form when he’s not leading his own band.

Paul Teasdale

It’s clear that this lineup of the band is determined to go out with a bang. Just one more gig to go now, at Bilston Robin 2 on Easter Sunday, April 4th. If it’s possible for you to get there, be there.

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